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Title: Key Roles of Lewis Acid-base Pairs on ZnxZryOz in Direct Ethanol/Acetone to Isobutene Conversion

The effects of surface acidity on the cascade ethanol-to-isobutene conversion were studied using ZnxZryOz catalysts. The ethanol-to-isobutene reaction was found to be limited by the secondary reaction of the key intermediate, acetone, namely the acetone-to-isobutene reaction. Although the catalysts with coexisting Brønsted acidity could catalyze the rate-limiting acetone-to-isobutene reaction, the presence of Brønsted acidity is also detrimental. First, secondary isobutene isomerization is favored, producing a mixture of butene isomers. Second, undesired polymerization and coke formation prevail, leading to rapid catalyst deactivation. Most importantly, both steady-state and kinetic reaction studies as well as FTIR analysis of adsorbed acetone-d6 and D2O unambiguously showed that a highly active and selective nature of balanced Lewis acid-base pairs was masked by the coexisting Brønsted acidity in the aldolization and self-deoxygenation of acetone to isobutene. As a result, ZnxZryOz catalysts with only Lewis acid-base pairs were discovered, on which nearly a theoretical selectivity to isobutene (~88.9%) was successfully achieved, which has never been reported before. Moreover, the absence of Brønsted acidity in such ZnxZryOz catalysts also eliminates the side isobutene isomerization and undesired polymerization/coke reactions, resulting in the production of high purity isobutene with significantly improved catalyst stability (< 2% activity loss after 200 h time-on-stream).more » This work not only demonstrates a balanced Lewis acid-base pair for the highly active and selective cascade ethanol-to-isobutene reaction, but also sheds light on the rational design of selective and robust acid-base catalyst for C-C coupling via aldolization reaction.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0002-7863; 48772; KC0302010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of the American Chemical Society; Journal Volume: 138; Journal Issue: 2
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Lewis acid-base pair; ethanol; acetone; isobutene; ZrxZnyOz; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory